Opening Round: The Toronto Tripleheader

The UFC has nestled in to Toronto for UFC 140 and a card featuring one current title-holder plus four former champions. Headlined by 205er Jon Jones defending his divisional gold against Lyoto Machida, the event is top heavy with talent but features a number of intriguing match-ups aimed at entertaining the Canadian crowd with many of the show’s participants hailing from the Great White North.

Below you’ll find some quick picks for the evening’s earlier fights followed by a more detailed breakdown of the tantalizing trio of clashes closing UFC 140 out including Jones vs. Machida, Tito Ortiz vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, and Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

After reading my predictions make sure to check back at MMATraining later starting at approximately 5:45 PM EST when preliminary results start rolling in to see if things unfolded as I’ve expected (or as you may have guessed instead depending on where your opinions differ from mine).

John Cholish def. Mitch Clarke via Split Decision
Jake Hecht def. Rich Attonito via Unanimous Decision
Nik Lentz def. Mark Bocek via Unanimous Decision
Walel Watson def. Yves Jabouin via Submission Round 2
John Makdessi def. Dennis Hallman via TKO Round 1
Jared Hamman def. Constantinos Philippou via Unanimous Decision
Krzysztof Soszynski def. Igor Pokrajacvia TKO Round 1
Mark Hominick def. Chan Sung Jung via TKO Round 2
Brian Ebersole def. Claude Patrick via Unanimous Decision

Tito Ortiz vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

This should be a competitive fight with Ortiz barely coming out on top given Nogueira’s nine-month layoff and struggles as of late when it comes to finding success against wrestler. Ortiz has said he wants to stand with Nogueira, a statement I see as subterfuge for his true intentions of implementing a takedown followed by ground-and-pound. However, if Nogueira can indeed keep things vertical he has a chance of picking Ortiz apart, then landing a takedown of his own to win rounds or work his BJJ.

Winner – Tito Ortiz def. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira via Unanimous Decision

Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

I know Nogueira’s supposed return to form after a handful of surgeries and lengthy recovery time is a great story. It just happens to be fictional, at least at this point. While his win over Brendan Schaub was nothing to be embarrassed about, Schaub’s star is a bit inflated in the sense his biggest wins are against guys who no longer fight in the UFC.

Mir has looked great as of late, especially against guys who aren’t larger/stronger than him, and with a twenty pound weight advantage on Nogueira I don’t see him having any problems this go either. Expect a similar result to that when they first fought.

Winner – Frank Mir def. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira via TKO Round 3

Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida

This bout looks great on paper but in the end I think it will be as one-sided as all of Jones’ fights thus far have been. Machida’s best weapons (speed, range, precision) are neutralized by Jones’ own athleticism and freakish reach. Jones’ wrestling and is going to make the ultimate difference, as I see him picking Machida apart with leg kicks and jabs when separated and working him over on the mat when dragging action down to it.

Winner – Jon Jones def. Lyoto Machida via TKO Round 4

What do you think about the subject on today’s “Opening Round”? Tell us on our Twitter account (@mmatraining)!

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